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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
12-Aug-2014

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Contact: Tara Kennedy
tara.kennedy@oup.com
212-726-6258
Oxford University Press USA

Digital literacy reduces cognitive decline in older adults, experts find

Researchers have found a link between digital literacy and a reduction in cognitive decline, according to a study published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Medical Sciences on July 8th. Led by Andre Junqueira Xavier at the Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina, this is the first major study to show that digital literacy, or the ability to engage, plan and execute digital actions such as web browsing and exchanging emails, can improve memory. Drawn from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, the study followed 6442 participants in the UK between the ages of 50 and 89 for 8 years. The data measures delayed recall from a 10-word-list learning task across 5 separate measurement points. Higher wealth, education and digital literacy improved delayed recall, while people with functional impairment, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, depressive symptoms or no digital literacy showed decline. The researchers' findings suggest that "digital literacy increases brain and cognitive reserve or leads to the employment of more efficient cognitive networks to delay cognitive decline." The authors write, "countries where policy interventions regarding improvement in DL are implemented may expect lower incidence rates for dementia over the coming decades."

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The paper, "English Longitidunal Study of Ageing (ELSA): Can internet/email use reduce cognitive decline?," can be accessed here: http://www.oxfordjournals.org/page/5759/14

For more information or to interview one of the authors, please contact Tara Kennedy. The The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Medical Sciences is published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. Attribution to The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Medical Sciences is requested in all news coverage.

Oxford Journals is a division of Oxford University Press. We publish well over 300 academic and research journals covering a broad range of subject areas, two-thirds of which are published in collaboration with learned societies and other international organizations. We have been publishing journals for more than a century, and as part of the world's oldest and largest university press, have more than 500 years of publishing expertise behind us.

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Related links: http://biomedgerontology.oxfordjournals.org/



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